friendship

"10 lessons I want to teach my sons."

Boys need their mums.

You see it when they turn to you after they fall trying to keep up with the big kids during a game of ‘tip’.

You see it when their faces light up when you step into the playground for a rare after-school pick up.

You see it when they search you out of the crowd when they score a goal, or nail a song in the end of year concert.

Boys need their mums.

I see it every morning when my nearly-big eight-year-old and my still-small six-year-old are drawn to me eyes half closed with sleep for a morning cuddle.

Whether they are just-born helpless little guys or tough-as-bolts teenagers, they need you.

As a mother of two boys, and a small girl, I have the usual hopes and dreams for my children. The usual desires that my boys will learn to put down the toilet seat and my daughter will learn that there are other colours than pink.

But there are some other things I hope, as their mum, I can teach my boys.

This video of what boys are really like went viral. (Post continues after video.)

1. You don’t have to be "sporty" to fit in.

I have one naturally sporty son and one who is trying to find his thing. I know I have to allow him to work out what’s going to be his gig but at the moment he is stuck in the land of boys-play-footy and the mindset of why-aren't-I-any-good.

You don't have to be sporty to fit in.

What I want him to know is that boys and men come in so many different shapes and sizes. That the ones who aren’t on the field have as much value and worth and respect as the ones who do. That some of the greatest men couldn't kick a ball into a net either.

2.  Taking risks is worth it.

Jump – it might be fun. Climb – you might see something you haven’t before. Try out – you just might get picked.

We parents protect our kids so much these days we seem to forget to teach them to take risks. To give it a go. Get out of their comfort zone.

3. No physical touch should make someone uncomfortable.

I want my boys to know that they shouldn't ever feel uncomfortable with the way somebody touches them and conversely that they should never touch someone in a way that hurts them or makes them feel uncomfortable.

That touching is meant to be wanted and pleasant for BOTH parties.

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4. Winning isn’t everything but you should always give it a red-hot shot.

I know that I am meant to be of the everyone-gets-a-ribbon era of parenting but seriously...

They need to want to win. They need to try to win. I think a bit of competitiveness never harmed anyone. We are all for a bit of gentle ruffling in this house.

First one to the bath wins.

Works every time.

5. It is okay to cry but never, ever over iPad games.

I want my boys to be able to talk about how they feel.

To know that using words like love, and feel, and hurts and sad, is normal.

To know it is okay to be angry and to deal with it by using words rather than fists.

To know that they can always cry if they want to, that crying can be good for them.

Except about video games. Crying because a Zombie killed you in Minecraft isn’t okay. Ever. Not negotiable.

It is okay to cry.

6. Real women look nothing like what you will see on the Internet.

In fact, most of what you see on the Internet isn’t real. I want my boys to grow up discriminating when it comes to what media they consume. To have the judgement to know that what they come across online usually isn’t reality.

Unless it's cat videos. Hard to fake them.

7.  Find something they love and do it.

Whether it is playing soccer or drawing monsters don’t be discouraged. Try everything and continue what you love. When you are a grown-up, get a job you love. Life is too short to wash windows if you are afraid of heights.

Find something you love and embrace it.

8. There comes a point when talking about dinosaurs constitutes too much information.

That the brachiosaurus was a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs sure. That the plant eating dinosaurs tended to have blunt hooves or toenails - didn't really need to know.

9. Be social media savvy.

Remember that the online world is a real world and a real world with history. I want them to learn both the benefits of social media and the downsides, to know to respect themselves online and respect others.

10. That there is nothing that should be labelled solely "girls" or "boys".

No colours, no jobs, no toys. There is nothing that should ever be designated just for girls or boys.

Except for public toilets. Because boys pee on the floor.

What do you hope to teach your sons?